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RealTime Economic Issues Watch

In RealTime posts, PIIE senior staff and colleagues discuss the fast-moving economic news, financial developments, and public policy choices confronting the United States and the world.

Recent Posts

Whither Europe’s Banks after the Stress Test?

by | October 29th, 2014 | 05:35 pm

The new comprehensive assessement of the European banking sector—including the “stress tests” of banks—was released in late October and made headlines by highlighting progress toward solvency and health in the banking system. But the tests also underscored concerns that many banks will need more capital and a more profitable business model to survive in the […]

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Why France Needs Political Reform

by | October 29th, 2014 | 09:19 am

Despite recent unflattering jokes, France is not an economic basket case. Blessed with numerous competitive high value-added industries, France is also visited by more foreign tourists than any other country in the world. It has also performed far better than the euro area periphery and the islands off the coast of the Continent on the […]

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Ukraine Votes for Europe and Reforms

by | October 28th, 2014 | 09:01 am

On October 26, Ukraine held early parliamentary elections. The elections were free and fair. Six parties are entering parliament, of which three or four may join a coalition government. On the whole the results were as expected, giving the current pro-European government a strong mandate, which should help it to carry out badly needed economic […]

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Europe’s Banking Union Starts on an Encouraging Note

by | October 27th, 2014 | 12:33 pm

Sunday, October 26 was D-Day for Europe’s banks: At noon in Frankfurt, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced [pdf] the results of its “comprehensive assessment” of the euro area’s 130 largest banks, including an Asset Quality Review (AQR) and stress tests. Simultaneously in London, the European Banking Authority (EBA) announced the results [pdf] of these […]

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Will Japan Bet the Farm on Agricultural Protectionism?

by | October 21st, 2014 | 12:04 pm

Talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade accord between the United States, Japan, and 11 other countries are at a standstill—largely because of a hardening of Japan’s stance toward agricultural protection. President Obama discussed the stalled negotiations with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in mid-October ahead of the deadline for agreement at the end of the […]

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To Unleash an Infrastructure Boom, Turn to the Private Sector

by and Tyler Moran | October 16th, 2014 | 03:32 pm

With the world economy suffering, neither monetary nor fiscal nostrums are giving much relief. Easy money has boosted bond and equity prices, as well as housing values, but it has done little to lift wages or employment. Fiscal expansion is constrained by politics, not economics. Debt and deficit hawks are ascendant in Germany and elsewhere, […]

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Jack Lew Tilts at Windmills

by | October 6th, 2014 | 10:00 am

While not as endearing as Don Quixote, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is every bit as ineffective. Where Don Quixote imagined that windmill blades were the arms of a giant, Jack Lew imagines that US corporations seeking to invert—i.e., sell themselves to a foreign parent firm to escape US taxes—are economic malefactors. The US Congress can […]

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Free Flash Cards for European Commissioner-designate Jonathan Hill’s Remedial Session at the European Parliament (Part II of II)

by | October 3rd, 2014 | 12:04 pm

This is the second part of a piece of complimentary advice to European Commissioner-designate for Financial Stability, Financial Services, and Capital Markets Union, Jonathan Hill, in anticipation of his second hearing by members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs next week. The questions are copied from a letter sent to Mr. […]

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Free Flash Cards for European Commissioner-designate Jonathan Hill’s Remedial Session at the European Parliament (Part I of II)

by | October 3rd, 2014 | 12:04 pm

The president-designate of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has nominated Jonathan Hill, previously a UK government minister, as commissioner-designate for Financial Stability, Financial Services, and Capital Markets Union. The European Parliament has a veto on the eventual confirmation of the whole Commission and has used this right in the past to request and obtain the […]

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A Good Deal Settles the Brazil Cotton Dispute

by | October 2nd, 2014 | 03:18 pm

A long-running dispute between the United States and Brazil over US cotton subsidies has at last been settled. In an announcement on October 1, the two sides disclosed that their deal has two key terms: The United States will pay Brazil $300 million immediately, for the benefit of Brazilian cotton farmers, and Brazil will drop […]

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